AWU's common sense claim wins out in landmark Horticulture Award decision

Friday 07th July 2017 0:00

The Australian Workers' Union has commended the Fair Work Commission's decision to back the union's claim that casual horticulture workers should be paid overtime.

The FWC has ruled that for the first time, under the Horticulture Award, those working for more than 12 hours in a day – or 38 hours in a week – will be entitled to overtime.

AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said the decision was a sound and sustainable one. 

"The Fair Work Commission's decision to back the AWU's claim on overtime represents a very sensible move toward fairness and common sense," he said.

"The AWU's claim was reasonable and considered. It allows workers take a share in the good times, without unduly stretching employers during bad times. 

"In all other sectors of the economy workers are entitled to overtime when businesses are running hot and require their labour. There is not justifiable reason why horticulture workers should be left out in the cold any longer."

As part of the FWC's decision, employer claims to reduce minimum engagement periods in the dairy and wine industries were rejected. Mr Walton backed this aspect of the FWC's decision as well. 

"Maintaining minimum engagement periods is crucial to protecting decent, liveable income in these industries," Mr Walton said. 

"The time and effort of workers deserves a minimum level of respect and that is what minimum engagement periods currently protect. 

"Reducing these periods would have been a step backward for fairness and we are glad the Commission has recognised this."